October 20th, 2008
02:55 PM ET
14 years ago

Limbaugh defends comment about Powell

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/20/art.limbaugh.gi.jpg caption="Limbaugh defended his comments about Powell Monday."](CNN) - Conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh Monday strongly defended his recent remark that Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama largely because of race, and lashed out at members of the media and Democrats for appearing to take issue with his comment.

"So what if it's race?" Limbaugh said on his radio show. "Why is it so hard to admit that it's race...What's so problematic about admitting it?"

Limbaugh's original comments came in an email to Politico reporter Jonathan Martin Sunday, when the talk-radio host took issue with Powell's contention that his endorsement of the Illinois senator did not have anything to do with the color of his skin.

"Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race," Limbaugh wrote in the e-mail. "OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with."

The comments immediately caused a stir on several Democratic blogs and an Obama campaign spokeswoman called them "disgusting." They were also heavily reported on several news programs Sunday night and Monday morning. But Limbaugh made clear Monday he is not backing down from them.

"I thought it should be about race," he said. "I thought you liberals thought this was a historic candidacy because finally we are going to elect a black guy...why hide behind this, why act like it's not about race?"

"This was all about Powell and race, nothing about the nation and its welfare," Limbaugh added. The talk radio host also criticized members of the media for not addressing his claim that Powell likely hasn't endorsed white candidates who, according to Limbaugh, have similar political leanings and experience as Obama.

"Just so you know, I haven't come up with any," he said. "I worked diligently on this on the airplane on the trip home from Green Bay yesterday. I can't find any of these inexperienced white liberals that Powell has endorsed."

In announcing his endorsement of Obama, Powell said his decision was not based solely on race, but added "I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president."

"Should that happen, all Americans should be proud - not just African-Americans, but all Americans - that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen," Powell said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday. "It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world."

soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. Kim from Iowa

    Although I am a life-long Democrat, I have been struggling with voting for our party's candidate, Barack Obama; however, with Colin Powell's endosement, a man whom I have always and the highest regard and respect for, I now firmly believe Obama is the right choice. Because of Colin Powell's integrity, I would find it very hard to believe that race had anything to do with his choice.

    October 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Jennifer NY

    Typical jerk Limbaugh....I can't imagine how any sane, rational person would listen to this guy. I truly hope bigots and nutjobs go away soon.

    October 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. Republicans= Me First Country Last

    So Rush, does that mean that Liberman only endorsed McCain because they are both white??????

    October 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. PatNYC

    The reason is that if you listened to Powell, he made a good argument showing his decision was not about race, but about a great many other things...so, the question then is why do people like you want to twist Powell's words and mislead the public? Because you want to minimize, even illegitimize, Powell's historic endorsement.

    Shame on you Rush, and all alikes!

    October 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. larry wi

    No kidding!! i wonder exactly how Obama will "spread the wealth" that he has accumulated in funding? I don't recal hm spreading the wealth in Hillary's direction! Maybe spreading the wealth doesn't apply to his wealth, and applies only to those peon's that worked hard for what they have. I wonder what charities Obama distributes his wealth to? I wonder how effective he is at hiding his wealth? So many question's and still not enough answer's!! What about his proof of citizenship, maybe I missed that one too!

    October 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Maggie from Virginia

    Something needs to be done about Limbaugh and people like him. That will be our next mission after we send Obama/Biden to the white house.

    We should have a "stop the hate" campaign.

    October 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Bryan

    I'm not a big fan of Limbaugh, but he makes a great point. Calling this a historic election is a double-edged sword... you can't do that and then call someone racist when they question a conservative-republican's edorsement of the most liberal senator.

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Salina

    How can you be so arrogant to suggest you know why someone made a discission, especially when Powell said that wasn't the only factor for his discission. I think these white racist crazy people might just burst into flames if Obama is elected. I just don't think they will be able to handle it. But too bad and good riddens.

    Why aren't whites questioned when they choose to endorse another white person? Oh, I forgot, they don't have those problems...

    Obama '08/'12

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Mr. Eko

    Does that mean that Joe Lieberman supports McCain because he's white? Limbaugh is a moron.

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Jason Shifter

    Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama because the Republicans have screwed everything up. Barack Obama is the greatest chance of redeeming the Bush regime. It's frankly a matter of national security that we elect Barack Obama president of the United States

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. PRinNJ

    Hey Rush, when you vote for a white man is that about race? You have managed to take irrelevant to new lows.

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. so what

    Not that it upsets me if powell did it based on race, it is the fact that limbaugh thinks he knows all. the man gave his reasons for doing what he did. what cant limbaugh accepts the reasons. why limbaugh do u think you know better than everyone? make your own decisions and give your reasons for them and stop giving reasons for others. you are so full of it!

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. New York

    I don't understand why people are surprised when Limbaugh says anything. I don't understand why people continue to give him attention. Everybody knows who he is and what he is so I say ignore him. He likes the publicity, can we please stop giving it to him.

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Silvia in Boca Raton FL

    Russ; Did you actually listen to what Colin Powell said about the direction that the Republican Party has taken? You obviously did not. You judge people by the color of their skin.

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |


    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. sophia nyc

    Limbaugh is no longer relevant.

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. rok

    Why is this guy still in the air?

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. Jeff

    I want to tell Limbaugh: Here's why the racial quote is important. If Powell only supported Obama because his skin is the same color, then that justifies everyone supporting someone because of the color of his skin, and that is NOT the way to determine how to vote! If Limbaugh isn't really as stupid and clueless as he sounds on this issue, then he is consciously giving reasons to racist whites to vote their skin.

    October 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. Michael

    Powell did endorse a inexperienced white guy, his name is George W. Bush.

    October 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. JD

    Rush Limbaugh is one of the most irrelevant hypocrites who has ever lived. Listening to his show is one thing, but have you ever met anyone who actually agrees with what he says? They're insane.

    October 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Becky CA

    I am not an African American and I am a woman. I am voting for Sen.Obama.

    October 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. TJ

    The devisive nature of the hard right will be the down fall of this country. These people are closed minded closet bigots and are the real people who hate America.

    I knew the right would say something to this effect.


    OBAMA 08/12

    October 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. kelly

    Yawn. Rush Limbaugh is a joke. He's almost irrelevant now.

    October 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. TC, Fl

    Of course it's about race. If Obama was white he would be losing by a landslide because he just doesn't have the requisite experience.

    October 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. patrick

    And these are the people Mccain wants campaigning for him ??

    October 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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